After 16 years helping children diagnosed with cancer, one superstar clinical nurse has been recognised by the patient that reignited her love for the job.
Tasked with looking after some of the sickest children admitted to the Queensland Children’s Hospital, from the outside looking in Stacey Pulford has one of the most challenging jobs—facing her patient’s fear and uncertainty every day.
“I know a lot of people think that paediatric oncology, and nursing especially, are really difficult areas to work in, but I just find it so rewarding. I simply love what I do,” she said.
“My main job isn’t to cure them, but to make their day a little less awful.”
A patient who has experienced this passionate care has gone so far as to nominate Stacey as the latest recipient in Juiced TV’s Super Hero Award, proudly supported by QSuper, part of Australian Retirement Trust.
“Staying upbeat and positive doesn’t always come naturally in this role. Sometimes you have to look to the people and team around you for that spark,” Stacey said.
For Stacey, a special patient reignited that spark with his sense of humour and outlook on life.
“When I met Taj at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, I was facing a lot of challenges and questions about my future in this field,” she said.
“In truth, he brought the passion I had back and has made me a better clinician.”
Challenging Stacey with a good-natured prank here and there, Taj spurred Stacey into everyday acts of spontaneous joy for her patients. From competitions with younger patients for the most ‘outrageous outfits’ to impromptu manicures post-treatment, Stacey’s positivity has become a salient part of her identity.
Considering her nomination as a bit of a ‘stitch up’—given the cheeky nature of her relationship with Taj—the recognition ultimately filled her with joy to know her appreciation was reciprocated.
“I do what I do because it is the right thing, not because I want to be recognised,” she said.